The Panther



From seeing the bars, his seeing is so exhausted 
that it no longer holds anything anymore. 
To him the world is bars, a hundred thousand
bars, and behind the bars, nothing.

The lithe swinging of that rhythmical easy stride
which circles down to the tiniest hub
is like a dance of energy around a point
in which a great will stands stunned and numb.

Only at times the curtains of the pupil rise
without a sound . . . then a shape enters, 
slips though the tightened silence of the shoulders, 
reaches the heart, and dies.

Rainer Maria Rilke

(translation by Robert Bly)

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